Friday, May 20, 2016

E-book or Paper Book - The Great Debate

When Oprah Winfrey introduced the Kindle on her TV show, much to my surprise, my son ordered one for me. He knew I had shelves lined with bulky books and thought it would be a solution to my storage problem. As soon as I loaded my first book, I realized the advantage of its features, instant gratification being the first. The book was in my hands ready to read in a matter of seconds. Adjustable font size was the second thing I found delightful since I was beginning to struggle with the print in some paperback books. E-books cost less too.

I’ve always preferred reading in bed. I once observed I’d never need a sleeping pill. Just hand me a book and I’d soon be asleep, especially a textbook. I soon noticed the Kindle had another feature I liked. There was no need for me to fumble around to find a bookmark when I was ready to turn out the light; just flip the button and it would remember where I left off.

When I talked to some of my friends about the new technology, they groaned and said they still favored the feel of a real book in their hands. They argued that they often flipped the pages of their books back to refer to a page read earlier, something that was difficult with an e-reader. I had to confess they were right about that part. I also had to admit that I was unable to underline passages in an e-book.

So, have I switched totally to e-books? The answer is no. I still have shelves bulging with my favorites. I have some really old books I’d never give up. How could I toss an early edition of Gone With the Wind, or To Kill a Mockingbird? They are like old friends. Or that 1915 edition of Gray’s Anatomy that belonged to my mother. I even have a bookcase up in the attic where I store a few books I’ve promised myself I’ll read someday. There’s one about how Cortez conquered Mexico, and another about Livingston in darkest Africa.

I don’t believe that paper books will be abandoned soon. But e-books are here to stay also. I’ve read that at least 27% of Americans read on an electronic device, and the number is growing. I’ve also noticed that libraries still have a lot of people enjoying them. So let’s celebrate books, all kinds.

How about you, dear reader, what is your preference, e-book or paper?  

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